In 2004 we decided to take our Forest River Wildcat on its first vacation trip. At that time it was two years old but had not been on any road trips as yet, however it had been our home for 1 1/2 years while building our home.
The first day as we started on our way to Mountain Home, AK our goal was to reach northeastern Texas or southwestern Arkansas. We prefer to drive back roads and avoid interstates as much as possible. Somewhere in northeast Texas we heard a pop and upon looking in the rearview mirrior I saw what was left of a tire. Hoping that was what I had run over it but knowing that wasen’t the case I pulled over on the side of the road.
In most cases in Texas there is a wide paved area along the side of the road but as luck would have it not on this road. I got out and found the right rear tire was shredded. I decided to change it myself and got out all of the necessary equipment, loosened the lug nuts, jacked the trailer up and then removed the tire. As I was attempting to put the spare on (I had insisted that the dealer add a spare to the trailer before leaving the dealership) my wife said “it won’t fit.” I asked why and she pointed out there weren’t enough holes in the wheel.
Thank goodness we had a emergency road service plan. I called and they dispatched a repair truck (one hour away). I picked up the remains of my tire and made a call to the RV dealership in Dallas, I “discussed” with the dealer the fact that the spare wheel was the wrong lug configuration and he agreed to pay for shipping and changing the tire off of the spare rim to the trailer rim.
With 4 tires on the ground again we continued on, in the next town I found a trailer dealer and purchased a new tire and rim for a spare. About an hour later as we had just gotten in Arkansas on I-30 we experianed a second tire failure on the other right side tire. I changed it and we stopped at the first campground we saw for the night.
Upon hooking up for the night I discovered that the first blowout had taken out the low water drain which was in the wheel well. The next morning I inspected the other two tires and they appeared to be failing. I called a couple of the local tire shops and found one with three tires to replace ours. We limped into the shop and had the left side tires and the spare replaced. We detoured through Little Rock and I purchase what parts I felt I would need to repair the plumbing at a RV dealer and drove on to Mountain Home. That evening I repaired the plumbing in a drizziling rain.
The remainder of our trip was great and without problems. I got the new rim from the dealer and had a tire mounted on it and attached it to the rear bumper. I used the trailer for 5 more years and never experienced any other tire problems. In 2008 we traded it for a fifth wheel. If you see a Wildcat with two spares attached to the bumper you now know why.
We are now fulltimers and you can be assured that tires get a inspected prior to moving the trailer.
Submitted by Roland Ballow of Texas & Arkansas as a part of the RV Centennial Celebration “Share Your Favorite RV Memory” contest.
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